“It will be fun to do the Mass Start again!”

For this week’s edition of TUESDAY TALK, the focus is on Norwegian veteran Jan Schmid, who just ended the best season of his career so far. In the interview, he looks back on what he would have done differently in a do-over, gives insights into his summer training (and orienteering) plans and what he is looking forward most to in the next winter season.

You can look back on the best season of your career so far, even if you ran a little bit out of steam at end end. What are the main takeaways for you looking back on the winter with a little distance now?

Jan Schmid: Mainly I’m just pleased and proud, the goal was to show that I wasn’t done yet, and to come away from that with my best season ever is more than I’d hoped for. The only thing that I’m disappointed with is that I didn’t keep my cool after the Olympics. Getting sick before the Olympics is one of those things, can’t do anything about that, and I managed to save it a bit for the team event. 

Afterwards I tried to catch up though, and overdid it a bit. Going in to the last WC period tired was unnecessary. That’s pretty much the only thing I’d do differently if I got a do-over…

Even if you were asked this question a lot in the last season, what changed for you to be able to perform on the level that you did and how are you planning to reproduce it for next winter?

Schmid: I made a pretty big change in my training, with much more focus on cross country volume. To do that I had to trust in my experience on the hill, and hope that almost 30 years of ski-jumping wouldn’t go away if I focused less on it. We also had a much better team-plan again, with some great training camps to push each other.

The plan for this year will be very similar to last year. The only change is that the goal will be to peak for Seefeld, where last year I just wanted to be stable throughout the season.

How is the spring/summer preparation going for you? What is on your schedule for the next couple of weeks?

Schmid: I’ve been training again for the last month or so, after a lengthy period of inactivity… It’s never fun to train when out of shape, but things are coming back slowly.

First NC-thing on the agenda is a training camp with the team in Lillehammer in a couple of weeks. After that I’m going to Livigno for 3 weeks for an altitude camp.

In summer, you’re usually quite active in orienteering as well. Any events planned for this year as well?

Schmid: I’m preparing a bit for that as we speak… In the middle of June I’m running a big relay in Finland with my local team, which is a nice distraction from the daily training routine. I’ll probably run some races before the summer, but less and less as we get closer to winter.

We have seen the final calendar versions at the FIS Congress in Costa Navarino. Which events are you looking forward to the most? 

Schmid: This year I’m especially looking forward to the 3-day-weekend at home in Lillehammer, it will be fun to do the mass-start event again. But the World Champs in Seefeld are of course the highlight of the winter.

Especially for the ladies of Nordic Combined, some big strides have been made at the same meetings and now the best Nordic Combined athletes in the world will compete together with the ladies at the SGP opener in Oberwiesenthal for the first time. Is this a development that you follow with interest?

Schmid: I think it’s great that things are moving in the right direction for Ladies’ NC. It’s nice that both genders get to compete together this summer, even though I’ll probably not be in Oberwiesenthal for that… The most important thing is that the progress continues, and that we recruit as many ladies to our wonderful sport as possible!